5 Travel Stories That Would Either Make You Laugh or Make You Feel Warm and Fuzzy Inside

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

funny travel stories

Travel, as an experience, is inherently mercurial. It is transient and never takes on a shape twice, but the feeling it evokes is always the same: yourself in tune after a while of being so out of sync. That's what makes the whole process of traveling so addicting – that the details, upon recall, are not necessarily accurate yet the soul somehow thrives in spite of. There are moments, however, that capture the beautiful transience of traveling, a bit of it at least. Only stepping out of our comfort zones would have created these memories, which are now part of who we are, and are no doubt worth repeating. You already know about that time we had an airplane to ourselves and that one when I missed my flight. So, here are five more of my most memorable travel experiences:

1. The Goats Who Did Not Want to Be Ran Over

It was a day in early October. The post-dawn sky was overcast and the Batan air had just a hint of rain in it. Dennis and I had a breakfast of meatloaf and Pancit Canton, (incredibly healthy, I know) and were geared for a day out in the sun. Nanay Cita, the kind and warm owner of the lodge we were staying at, had arranged beforehand a motorcycle for us to use the whole day. We were to ride around mainland Batanes. I was the driver, Dennis riding pillion.

We started riding at around 8:30 AM, later than what we'd initially planned, but it didn't really matter. In Batanes, Time is never an issue, for everything is beautiful at every hour. Even the suddenly bright, clear, melanoma-causing skies did not faze us.

At any rate, we traveled at a leisurely pace, stopping here in there to take photos and to enjoy the magnificent vistas. When a stretch of the ocean and a length of rolling hills take turns to form a roadside, it's hard to just keep going. Yet there was one incident that had stolen the spotlight from the scenic views. 


After we stopped at Alapad Pass and the Deadman's Curve in Uyugan, a light drizzle had started pouring. The sky was still bright, though, so we pushed on. We were passing through a slightly inclined road flanked by grasslands when the drizzle stopped, the petrichor making the scene of a variety of livestock grazing even cozier. When the road leveled, we saw a flock of goats all poised to cross the road. One of them hurriedly retreating upon hearing engine noise. Naturally, I put on the brakes. The goats just stood there, staring at us with their beady black eyes. It took me several seconds before I realized we were waiting on each other. So, as kind of a joke, I did what considerate motorists do when pedestrians hesitate while crossing the road: I signaled the goats to go ahead. And, to both Dennis' and my surprise, they did. All of them. Like a bunch of smart no-nonsense human pedestrians.
batanes diy guide
Those are them. The goats we humans could all learn from

2. I Don't Know What You're Saying But Let Me Help

We often hear stories of kindness on the road. And it's true, especially if you believe in the inherent goodness of people. I've experienced this towards the end of my first solo travel in Mindanao for my birthday. 

I'd just got back from Gumasa. It was a little past noon. My flight back to Manila was at 5PM. I was thinking of grabbing takeout lunch at the nearby KCC Mall when I remembered I still had bread and Cheezewiz, so I decided to head straight to the airport instead. Better early than miss my flight again. So, I hailed a tricycle and told the driver to take me to the General Santos Airport. I didn't know how to get there from KCC Mall and had forgotten to Google it. Fortunately, the driver nodded his head yes. I was his lone passenger and he struck up a conversation. He spoke in Bisaya, judging from the pathetically few words I could recognize. I managed to communicate that I was traveling solo and that I'm scheduled to go back to Manila. He managed to tell me how brave I was. There was silence after that. Several passengers got on the tricycle and I couldn't see any hint that I was nearing the airport.


When most of the passengers got off, leaving me alone with the driver, he spoke again. It sounded like a question but, try as I may, I couldn't understand what he was saying. I kept telling him in Tagalog that I needed to go to the airport lest I miss my flight. After at least 15 minutes of gesturing and grave head-shaking and nodding, we came to the following conclusion: a) he finally realized I could barely understand him, b) he didn't want to tell me his name; c) he misheard me and thought I was going elsewhere (where, I didn't understand), d) the airport is still far and no tricycle from the KCC Mall would take me there directly; e) cabs rarely go where we were currently at (I don't know where it was, but it was all residential houses and roadside stalls); and f) he'd take me somewhere I could get a ride to the airport. And so, he took me to a tricycle terminal, then motioned for me to stay seated while he proceeded to talk to another driver. My driver pointed to my backpack and made airplane motions, certainly just to assure me, probably because I was starting to look worried. The other driver nodded and got back to calling for other passengers. My driver walked back to me and gestured that all was settled. I reached for my wallet but he gently pushed my hands away and shook his head. I insisted and fished a Php500 bill. He vigorously waved a hand and instead hauled my backpack to the other tricyle. I followed him and tried to force the bill into his hand but he kept pulling away. I sighed and spread my arms, hugging him instead.

"Daghang salamat, kuya," I said quickly.

When I was seated, Kuya peeked inside and told me "Ingat na lang d'yan, iha."

He went back to his tricycle and drove off without taking a glance at me. It was still early to abandon my worry but I'd known, at that moment, in my guts and without a doubt, I'd get home safe. And I had. And now I remember Kuya when the world seems like a dark, dark place
how to go to general santos

3. Palawan Admission

Dennis and I traveled to Puerto Prinsesa for his birthday last 2015. We already went island-hopping at Honday Bay, and for his actual birthday, we had a city tour and ended the night Firefly-watching at the Iwahig River. We were scheduled a trip to the Underground River the next day. When we went back to our lodge, however, Dennis started complaining about his stomach. We'd eaten Tamilok and a bunch of other things that day so I figured he just needed to go number 2. We cleaned up and turned in early. Beside me, I heard him moaning but we both eventually fell asleep.

Later on, in the middle of the night, I was woken by the sound of someone throwing up in the bathroom. Dennis was hurling. I turned the lights on and saw him emerge from the bathroom all pale and miserable. I told him to sit down. He said his stomach felt cold. I then bought him a cup noodle (well, technically, er, I stole it. There was no one in the lodge store. I paid for it the next day). After a few sips, he threw up again, all over the floor, curled into fetal position, and made sounds of a dying animal. I called our tricycle service but he wasn't answering. I managed to rouse the caretakers awake and have them call up another tricycle to take us to the hospital. Instead of touring the Underground River, we spent half the day at a hospital in Puerto Prinsesa. Dennis caught an amoeba. You know what they say in the backpacking community: it's bound to happen soon. Fun! 
palawan diy guide
A little furry friend from Palawan says hello!

Speaking of being sick... 

4. Together Forever in Itbayat

Part of our Batanes itinerary was a trip to the island of Itbayat. Dennis and I knew it takes 3 to 4 hours, even five, of sea travel to get there, but we were willing and able.

It was a cloudy day when we left Batan and as soon as we ventured farther to the open sea, the waters turned rough. The faluwa was full of passengers; the waves rocking us violently.

Forty-five minutes into the voyage and my intestines started tying themselves into a knot. My face felt like it was being ripped from my skull. My head was airy. I grabbed a plastic bag from my backpack then one more violent lurch and I retched. I looked at Dennis who was sitting behind me. He smiled reassuringly. I hurled again. He kneaded my back. I kept throwing up until the plastic got full. I was worried I'd make a mess when one of the boatmen handed me several white plastic bags, as if it was protocol to kept a load of them in the boat. Maybe it was.

My hurling settled for a while and a local beside me asked if it was my first time. I nodded yes. She told me the sea that day was at its calmest. The look on my face must've been priceless because she suddenly chuckled. 

Despite the waves, I willed myself to fall asleep. Two hours in, I jolted awake and retched again. Dennis grabbed a plastic from me and let out a good amount of vomit. We spent the remaining boat ride by alternately stroking each other's backs while one of us threw up, sneaking in what-were-we-thinking laughter in between. It was the most romantic thing ever. 
itbayat travel guide
The faluwa to Itbayat
5. Glide, Slide, and Roll

We started this list with a motorcycle story. Let's end it with another one. 

It was already nighttime when we finished our exploration of Mount Paliparan. We had dinner at Cuyambay before we left for home. I brought a motorcycle so it'd be convenient for us – I'd anticipated staying late. We'd just turned right to Sampaloc Road, Dennis and I recalling our amazing experience at Paliparan and with the Dumagat, when I noticed our gas tank was nearly empty. There was a gas station at the junction but I said we can reload at the one near the Manila East Road. So, we continued talking about our latest experience. The sky dark and filled with stars. For stretches of road, ours was the only vehicle. 
mt paliparan itinerary
At Hagkanan in Mount Paliparan
Just before the Bakasyunan Resort, the motorcycle sputtered to a stop. We were out of gas! And there was no one around. The nearest gas station was still far away. It was pitch black and across the road, a dog was barking angrily at us. I handed Dennis my phone and told him to turn on the flashlight. We got off the bike, I set the gear to Neutral and rolled it up the slightly inclined road while Dennis waved the flashlight so passing vehicles could see us. Frankly, I hadn't thought of asking for help that time. I believe the light was just for me to avoid falling in a ditch, off a cliff, or in a pothole – also for passing vehicles not to run us over.


In any event, I walked the motorcycle until the road sloped down. I hopped on and told Dennis to do the same. We then allowed gravity to do its thing. We glided our way down Sampaloc with no gas, only getting off once along the way. The rest of the ride, gravity took over. We leaned towards the road to increase the momentum and was quite proud of ourselves when we reached a gasoline station. 

Unfortunately, it was already closed.


The next station was, maybe, five, six blocks away, and near the highway, but the road was now flat. We could no longer rely on gravity. So I dragged the bike by foot. A few meters from the next gas station, my face fell. It was closed too! I was already telling Dennis about my plan to leave him with the bike while I ride a tricycle to buy gas when I saw a lit-up and still very much open gasoline station on the other side of the highway. We dashed to it and breathed a loud sigh of relief. Moral of the story? There are two: 1) Pay attention to and heed your fuel gauge – make sure also that it is working; and 2) Gravity isn't always a bitch


These are some of my most memorable travel experiences. What about your? I'm sure you have lots to tell! Share them in the comments below! 

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